The biggest bully we struggle to stand up to is ourselves.
The most important conversations we are having are the ones going on inside our heads, yet 70% of our daily self-talk is negative.
Sometimes we’re too scared to confront ourselves and work to solve this issue. Or we’re unaware that our subconscious thoughts are limiting our growth in the first place.
One thing is for sure–we’re overlooking how big of an impact our internal dialogue can have on our mental health, relationships, and self-esteem.
People become what they intensely believe they have the potential to be. So it’s not surprising that developing an optimistic inner voice is fundamental to success.
The purpose of this article is to bring awareness to the undervalued conversation around designing our personal narrative. Talk about why it matters, and give 3 suggestions that can help us improve our self-talk.
What is negative self-talk?
Think about that time you heard someone successful talk about the sacrifices they’ve made in life. Then, they follow it up with, “it was all worth it!”
After hearing this, you might have said to yourself or overheard someone else say, “that’s easy for them to say.”
Or maybe you saw the requirements for a job and thought to yourself, “I just don’t have the time to acquire those skills or meet those people.”
The point here is that negative self-talk is not always explicitly angry or rude. Sometimes, it can come in the form of self-justified excuses. Negative and limiting self-talk could be as simple as saying, “I don’t have time to go to the gym today,” instead of saying, “I just don’t want to go to the gym today.”
Why do we say things like “don’t have time to,” instead of “am too lazy to?”
When people say these things, it doesn’t just help them make excuses; it allows them to use their words as a defense mechanism for their fears and insecurities.
Why you need to talk to yourself differently
When you use more constructive language out loud, and in your head, you force yourself through a paradigm shift that impacts your life perspective. Essentially, you’re permanently holding yourself accountable for your outcomes.
By making this change, we are gifting ourselves with the advantage of knowing that we are entirely responsible for our success. We become more motivated to work harder and pursue our potential.
When you avoid this reality, you put yourself more at risk of living life unfulfilled, unhappy, and potentially regretful of the decisions you’ve made.
How to correct your internal dialogue
1. Get better friends
The best way to improve the way we talk to ourselves, think, and view the world is to remove people from our life who are not helping you reach your potential.
I’m not proposing that people must be contributing resources (money, network, skills, etc.) to be your friend. Still, I am suggesting that they should be providing positive energy that energizes you to accomplish your goals.
I am in no position to tell people who they should or shouldn’t remove from their lives, but here is the way I’ve started to think about my own life…
Remove someone if they:
- Drain your energy because of their lack of ambition
- Are perpetually negative
- Have issues with integrity and treat others poorly
2. Audit your word choice
Tiny changes to the words you say out loud and in your head will change your life. Here are a few examples:
(Instead of this —> say this)
- Can’t —–> choose not to
- Am not good enough —-> haven’t put in the work yet
- Will lose —-> need to practice more
- Have to —-> get to (e.g., don’t say “I have to wake up early tomorrow,” say “I get to wake up early tomorrow.”)
- Easy for them to say —> how can I work equally as hard to accomplish a similar goal
The words we use can help us address reality and protect ourselves from making excuses, or they can drive us deeper into insecurity and fear.
3. Consume better content
We are, virtually, “hanging out with” the people we spend time following on social media.
If our timelines are full of cynics, pessimists, and junk media, it’s not very likely that we will adopt a productive and empowering mentality. It’s also improbable that you will be able to compete against someone who spends their time following accounts that help them learn more.
Just as we need to remove certain people from your life, we could also unfollow hundreds of accounts on social media. Then, replace them with mentors and brands that inspire us to be better. Your attention is worth way more than pointless memes, cat videos, people flexing their lifestyle, etc.
Social media is also a unique way to reach out and connect with like-minded individuals. Take advantage of being able to reach out to people you admire.
Here’s something that’s worked well for me: I made an entirely new Twitter account where I only follow and engage with people who I admire and can learn from. It’s been a phenomenal networking tool and has been the first step into creating a personal brand online.
Don’t worry about anyone else’s opinion on you. There will always be people that try to tell you what you are capable of and what your potential is. Still, the truth is that the only voice in the world that matters when it comes to assessing your self-worth and potential is the one inside of your head.
What story are you telling yourself?